Reply by Wildwood

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Posted on General finishing advice

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2305 posts in 2134 days

#1 posted 08-02-2012 08:17 PM

Wood selection for a project and finish to use go hand in hand. Need to look at how the item will be used, sheen, durability of finish, protection afforded and personal protective equipment (PPE) you need while working with the stuff.
Tung oil takes a long time to do right. Rule of thumb for not much handling two coats, medium handling four to six coats, and lots of handling six to ten coats. Waiting 12 to 24 hours between coats and each coat gets tiresome. Better barrier against wood moisture exchange than linseed oil but not much.

Watco Danish oil, just run of the mill oil varnish.

Oil finish pretty easy to repair applying more over time and benefit by re-application. To completely remove have to sand back to bare wood.

Shellac easy to apply and gets a bum rap on durability, no it is not for every surface. There is a small learning curve brushing or spraying, each coat dissolves into previous coats. Thinner-solvent for shellac is denatured alcohol.

Lacquer also dissolves itself into previous coats and solvent/thinner is actually call lacquer thinner. I am trying to move away from brush on and spray can lacquers.

Mineral oil not really a finishing product, I use food grade (laxative) MO around the shop a lot. MO is not a drying oil, so use it only on things going to re-coat often. Stay away from industrial grade mineral oil and bay oil for woodworking projects.

Mineral spirits either a thinner or a solvent depending upon how you use it not really a finishing product. True for naphtha and turpentine.

If looking for easy wipe on finishing product learn about wiping varnish. Simply wipe on light coat allow to dry before applying each new light coat. Two coats of wiping varnish equal one coat of varnish. Wiping varnish should contain 50 to 60% resins and less mineral spirits or naphtha, so check ingredients carefully.

I bought a wipe on poly product that was 75% mineral spirits, which did not work very well for me.

Check your local library for wood finishing books. I have a copy of “Understanding Wood Finishing, “How to select the right finish,” by Bob Flexner. Think he has an updated edition out now. I still go back to it for information when in doubt.

-- Bill

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